Essential Considerations for Running on Office 365

Essential Considerations for Running on Office 365 by Aravindan Anandan, Consulting Systems Engineer, Asia Pacific, Barracuda Network 

Moving your business to Office 365 SaaS based approach to your user productivity and messaging applications makes technical and commercial sense for all sizes of business. Ultimately hosting Exchange and user storage in Microsoft’s cloud should materialize efficiencies in management for your IT department as well as savings in your capex budget.

Interestingly the move to Office 365 doesn’t come with serious security, performance, compliance and protection consideration. However, the reality I often witness when I engage with CIOs is that people mistakenly believe when you move to Office 365 that the responsibility for protecting and securing the environment is taken on by the service provider (In this case Microsoft).

If we go back to the days before cloud, Windows OS had its own in built backup software, but it was rarely used to protect business grade applications and data. The reason why? Microsoft Backup utility don’t really deliver the level of protection that dedicated solutions from third parties offered.

The same is true today. Office 365 is the future of user productivity in this digital era built on cloud and mobility, but the same essential issues around security, protection and management our not covered by Microsoft alone.

Barracuda has been developing product that secure and protect IT environments for many years. It has always been our focus. That hasn’t changed in the cloud era. We provide technology that firm up the essential key aspects of Office 365.

We have taken a several of our technologies and packaged them into a suite we describe as Barracuda Essentials for Office 365. By doing this it enables us to offer a single solution that genuinely enables our customers to protect every essential element of the Office 365 environment.

In our view the three essential areas are:

·         Email threat Protection
·         Archiving for compliance
·         Backup and Recovery
In my role I go to great lengths to explain to IT leaders why and how these three areas cannot be taken for granted. We often have to reiterate that moving your applications to the cloud doesn’t miraculously remove your own responsibility in managing these major issues. The final and ultimate responsibility for the applications and data that are stored in the cloud rests with the owners of that data not with the cloud provider. Barracuda is the technology partner of choice for the data and application owners.
So what is it essential that we remember?

When email moves to the cloud, spam, viruses, malware and phishing are all still real and significant issues, they don’t disappear. Dependent on your business you also have to think about things like message encryption and data leak protection.
Email held on the cloud still needs to be managed and archived. Corporate mail needs policy management focused on areas like foul language and personal identity information.  Message stores cannot grow without control email still needs to be archived and meet compliance regulations.

Email and File Data stored on the cloud still needs to be backed up. Public cloud service provider will generally only offer a “catch all” service level for data protection. Further people still delete data they should not. The only safe way to protect your data is to use backup policies that move the copied data to an alternative location from where your public cloud provider stores it.

When it comes to securing, managing and protecting your Office 365 implementation, one size does not fit all. Our aim at Barracuda is to advise and understand your needs then deliver the technology that enables the service levels you require to be met.

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